Men’s Basketball Struggles But Wins Over Southern Virginia

Bryant Wall, junior, goes up for a dunk against Southern Virginia University on Tuesday.
Bryant Wall, junior, goes up for a dunk against Southern Virginia University on Tuesday.
Staff Photo

Jakari Johnson, junior, scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half last night to lead the Panthers to a 76-62 non-conference win over Southern Virginia University at home.

Head Coach Pat Corrigan said it didn’t feel like a 14-point win but something much closer than that.

“I told the guys, any win in college basketball is a good win, and that’s where you learn to take them all because there’s sometimes where you play really well and lose, so have to take the ones that you don’t play well and find a way to win,” he said. “In some sense, there’s beauty in finding a way to win when you’re not playing well.”

In a game that took close to 30 of the 40 minutes for the Panthers to find their footing, Ferrum trailed much of the first half but evened the score at 31 going into the break after a 12-2 run.

“We missed some shots early,” Corrigan said. “Shots we usually make. We couldn’t get it going offensively. Kind of settling, I felt like. Once you miss a couple shots that you normally make, then guys start questioning what they’re doing. I saw that a little bit.”

After the half, the lead changed hands three more times, with both teams vying for control.

When the Knights boosted their advantage to 40-45 with 14:44 left in the contest, something seemed to click with the Panthers. They fired off a 20-2 run, capped by a Johnson three-pointer with 8:50 left. Even with the 60-47 lead, however, it seemed as though SVU was still in it. While the Panthers never trailed again in the game, the Mustangs did get within eight points at the 5:29 mark.

A jumper by Charles Tart, junior, with 4:14 remaining, an Alfredo Abel-Rivera, sophomore, block, and an and-one from Johnson put the Panthers up 13 at 69-56 with 3:22 left in the contest.  From there, both teams traded a couple more buckets until the final whistle sounded.

“It’s just trying to find a group that’s going to play well together that night,” Corrigan said. “And for some teams, it’s probably easier if you don’t have that many players who can play. But for us it’s harder because we have a lot of new guys, and we’re trying to figure out the rotations a little bit.”

Johnson led all scorers with his 26, and the Panthers notched three other players in double figures: Rivera with 12, Tart with 11, and Kyree Ellis, junior, with 10. On the game, the Panthers went 25-57 from the floor for 43.9%. They also went 6-18 from beyond the arc for a 33.3% average and 20-29 from the charity stripe for a 69.9% free throw average.

Corrigan’s team will back in action Friday night at home against Virginia University of Lynchburg at 6 p.m.



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